This is the best vegan mac and cheese recipe ever! Directions for stovetop version and the most delicious baked vegan mac and cheese ever! Not cashew based, so allergy friendly!
Let’s get straight to the point in this post. We created the best vegan mac and cheese. And guess what? It’s super allergy friendly.
We wanted to sit and create something that was truly reminiscent of the baked mac and cheese that we were used to before being vegan. Finally, we think we have done that.
And it wasn’t without a lot of thought and consideration. I think we may have mad at least a dozen versions over the past year before finally settling on what we think is an absolutely amazing dairy free mac and cheese.
We had the bar set really high. Mac and cheese was the dish that was requested that we bring for the holidays.
We also knew that going into this recipe creation that we wanted this recipe to be allergy friendly, or at least be able to be made allergy friendly in the way that it was written.
Thankfully, we were successful on all accounts and now we are just so excited to share this delicious vegan macaroni and cheese recipe with you.
We will be sharing two versions –
1- how to make this stove top vegan macaroni and cheese
2- how to make this baked vegan macaroni and cheese
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What ingredients do you need for vegan mac and cheese?
Below are notes about the main ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make this easy vegan mac and cheese:
- macaroni noodles – It’s not mac and cheese without the mac! We using traditional macaroni pasta here
- butter beans – This is the base of our vegan cheese. It provides a creamy texture and you’ll be shocked that you can’t even taste them once everything is combined.
- vegetable stock – this allows for the sauce to get to the right consistency while adding flavor that you wouldn’t get with just water
- non-dairy milk – choose a neutral tasting unsweetened, unflavored variety for the best results. We love using creamier non-dairy milks like oat and soy.
- nutritional yeast – this helps us get a cheesy flavor without adding any processed vegan cheese
- vegan butter – adds richness and depth to this vegan beer cheese that you would expect from a cheese sauce
- lemon juice – A little acid helps bring the flavors of this dish together
- paprika – a little flavor, but also added to help with color
- vegan parmesan and cheddar cheese – the combination of vegan cheeses really helps to add a great flavor to the cheese sauce that you don’t get if you only add one
- chickpea (garbanzo) flour – This is to help thicken the sauce and give an even better consistency
- seasoned panko breadcrumbs – when making a baked mac and cheese, we like adding this for texture variation
Substitutions and variations:
- macaroni noodles – You can use any type noodle, we prefer tubular noodles or even gluten free pasta
- butter beans – Other white beans will work like cannellini or Great Northern. We don’t recommend chickpeas.
- nutritional yeast – add more vegan cheddar
- vegan butter – while we don’t recommend omitting, many people have and still liked the recipe
- lemon juice – white or apple cider vinegar could also work
- chickpea (garbanzo) flour – all purpose flour will also work as well as other gluten free flours.
- seasoned panko breadcrumbs – omit if desired
Can I make this Top 8 Allergen Friendly Mac and Cheese?
One of our main goals for this besides making just a delicious vegan macaroni and cheese was to make it allergy friendly as well.
There are a few ingredients that we need to look out for in how our recipe is written, but let’s get to it.
To start, you want to use a gluten free pasta. There are so many choices available now, so just use the one that you like the best. Gluten free pastas tend to be chewier, so if you are doing the baked version, we would recommend that you cook it a few minutes less on the stove.
For the vegan butter, ensure that it is soy free. We prefer earth balance soy free when it comes to this. It comes in a red tub.
Then, we have dairy free milk. We actually prefer oat milk for this because it’s creamier. Most dairy free oat milks are certified gluten free, so just double check your labels.
And then we have the vegan parmesan cheese. We are use Violife in this recipe, which does contain coconut oil, but no other allergens. If you have a coconut allergen, you can use Follow Your Heart parmesan.
We also have a vegan parmesan on our site that you can make with sunflower seeds; however, it doesn’t melt well which is why we recommend using one of the store bought brands.
Make sure if making the baked version that you pick a shredded dairy free cheese that is safe for your allergies.
Also, you can omit the breadcrumb topping or use a vegan, gluten free breadcrumb.
Hopefully that helps you create the perfect vegan macaroni and cheese that is suitable for your allergies.
Can I prep this vegan mac and cheese ahead of time?
This vegan mac and cheese is best served right out of the oven; however, we know with holidays and such, you may be wondering about prepping ahead.
You can make the cheese sauce ahead and leave in the fridge up to 7 days in advance. That goes for the cheese sauce in the blender and then continue sauce for the baked version.
The stove top or baked version are still good heated up for the next few days; however, if you are trying to wow a crowd, we recommend making and serving it without the first few hours.
What are other vegan side dishes to try?
There are endless possibilities, but here are some of our favorite vegan side dishes that we think everyone will like:
- Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (30 Minutes, One Pot!)
- Vegan Cornbread
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
- Vegan Potato Salad
- Vegan Green Bean Salad
- The Best Vegan Baked Beans
- Vegan Glazed Carrots
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Pin this vegan mac and cheese for later:
The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 9×13 casserole dish
- 2 ½ cups macaroni noodles, uncooked (Use gluten free if needed)
- 1 15oz can butter beans, drained
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup dairy free milk (we like oat for this)
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup vegan parmesan cheese (we use Violife for this recipe)
Additional Ingredients for Second Half
- 2 cups unsweetened vegan milk (we prefer oat here since it's creamier)
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ¼ cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
- ½ cup vegan parmesan Cheese (we used violife again here)
- 2 cups prepared cheese sauce from above
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 cups vegan shredded cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs (ensure dairy free)
- Bring a salted pot of water to a boil.
- Cook macaroni noodles according to the package. Drain noodles once done and set aside.
- While noodles cook, add beans, stock, dairy free milk, nutritional yeast, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika and parmesan cheese to a high powdered blender.
- Blend this until very well combined. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees if making a baked version.
- In a skillet, over medium low heat, melt vegan butter.
- Add in chickpea flour. Whisk together.
- Slowly pour in vegan milk. Whisk until a thick consistency happens, like a gravy.
- Stir in spices, 2 cups of the prepared cheese sauce and vegan parmesan cheese. Combine well.
- Add cooked noodles and combine.
For Stovetop Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Add in the shredded cheddar cheese, then remove from heat. Adjust salt and pepper. and Serve. *Use remaining cheese sauce in another recipe or as a dip.
For Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Pour half noodle mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish and spread out evenly.
- Spread ½ cup of the cheese sauce over and spread out, then top with half vegan shredded cheddar cheese.
- Add the remaining noodle mixture and spread evenly.
- Top with another ½ cup of the cheese sauce over and spread out remaining vegan shredded cheddar cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs have started turning golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving.
Let’s see your creations!
Share to Instagram and tag us @makeitdairyfree so we can see and share it!
*This recipe was updated slightly on 11/16/2021. Photos updated on 2/23/2022.
Hello, i read through all of the comments hoping to find an answer, and only found a partial answer but I also noticed you guys respond to all the reviews and question so figured I’d ask… Would I be able to omit the nutritional yeast? If so do I need to sub with anything or increase the vegan cheese shreds? Any feedback would be helpful. Have been dairy free and gluten free for over 10years..so almost impossible to find a good mac and cheese that suits both and i have been CRAVING good mac & cheese…Can’t wait to try this recipe.. thanks!
Hi Jay! You can leave out and proceed as written or you can add in more vegan shreds. Either way works!
This is truly the BEST vegan mac and cheese! It never fails and even people who are not vegans love it 🙂
Yay! So happy to hear that
This is by far the best vegan mac & cheese and I’ve tried making many different recipes. This is my go to recipe for many occasions as it’s my family’s favorite. THANK YOU!
OMG I’m so thrilled to hear that!
I have to retry this recipe because the first attempt was not good ☹️ What are your oat milk recommendations? I don’t usually use oat but I wanted to follow the recipe exact for my first try. I used the Califia Farms extra creamy oat milk and it had such a strong taste to it that the cheese sauce did not taste good. I’m hopeful to try this again with a better milk!
Planet Oat creamy is our favorite. But we’ve made with with a dozen unsweetened, unflavored almond milks as well. Unflavored and unsweetened are key.
This is my go to potluck/holiday side. Thank y’all so much for this recipe!!!
We love to hear that!
This recipe was great even my baby loved it 🙂 We’ll be adding this to his lunch and dinner menu!
So happy to hear that it was a hit!
Hello. It seems like quite a large dish for only 2 1/2 cups of dried pasta. Even in your video the measuring cup with the pasta looks a lot more than 2 1/2 cups dried. Is this a typo? I’ve made the pasta and it barely covers the bottom of the 9×13 dish.
Nope, that’s the right amount
Can I replace chickpea flour with almond flour? Will that effect the taste?
Omg! Just know that I’m in LOVE and want this all the time. Honey YUMMAE! Thank you guys SO much! ❤️❤️❤️😋
So glad you enjoy it so much!
Guys!!!! This recipe!! I had super high hopes from the reviews. While I was cooking it …. I started to get nervous about the look and smell of the sauce in my vitamix. I cooked it as the recipe said except i used regular flour and follow your heart vegan Parmesan. I was so scared to take a bite because every SINGLE Mac and cheese recipe I have tried …has been so nasty and has that vegan cheese aftertaste to it. I honestly don’t love nutritional yeast either but I had to try this because of the reviews. Oh. My. Gosh. Best Mac and cheese ever!!! Like seriously …. I can’t tell this is vegan. I would bring this to a potluck with non-vegans! My 22 year old daughter said it was really good and asked if we could do more breadcrumbs next time and add some broccoli. Um… sure …. If you gets you to eat vegan Mac and cheese the duh! Thank you thank you thank you!! Total game changer for me as I’ve been trying for 4 years to transition to 100% vegan! Now I will have to try all your other recipes! 🙂
YAYYYY!!!! We love this so much. Thanks for sharing
Sweet Jesus. The Mac & cheese was incredible. I liked it so much, I’m making it for Christmas too. And maybe New Years’s Eve.
Thank you for all you do.
This was amazing! I made it for the holiday and it will easily become a staple every year. It was incredibly easy to make and so good, my partner and I loved it! Thank you so much for the recipe 😊
So glad you all enjoyed
Best mac and cheese recipe ever. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was absolutely amazing. I used great northern beans instead of butter beans and violife vegan cheese. The swaps worked well and it was delicious. It’s now a staple recipe for me
Thanks Larisha and Andrew!
So happy to hear that